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We first met Sam Cunningham at the Dallas Safari Club Convention during January of 2014. Sam booked to join the Gunwerks crew on a hunt to John X Safaris that summer, where we got to know the man a bit better. Since then we have hosted Sam on four safaris spread across three different countries, coming away with a host of experiences and a bag of trophies ranging from plains game to big five.

Sam’s Zambian Leopard from 2016 being a certain highlight for both Sam and Stix.

What initially started as a client / PH relationship soon budded into an epic friendship between Sam and Stix, making for a formidable team out in the field. This year we welcomed Sam back to the East Cape, together with his wife, Tracey, and friends, the Smith’s.

For Tracey it would be her first trip to Africa…. and for that matter her very first hunt. She not only proved to be an excellent shot, but a really fun addition to have along on safari. When not behind the scope hunting personally, she turned out to be a trooper in supporting Sam as he came on a quest to continue his Tiny 10 collection, as well as going after the biggest too.

Sam’s Blue Duiker hunted from a blind, and his Oribi pursued along the dunes of the Indian Ocean, were great additions to his ever-growing pygmy antelope collection. It seems he has truly taken a liking to these elusive critters with plans for more in the future.

While up in the Karoo he completed his Springbuck slam from his previous East Cape safari, hunting a fantastic Copper Springbuck with our buddy Niel.

With the tiniest of the tiny in the salt the guys turned their attention to the largest plains game specie of all, the Cape Eland. With the acquisition of Woodlands at the end of 2016, unbeknown to us we had bought into an unbelievable gene pool of Cape Eland, with the population exceeding 150 animals on the greater property. This allowed us the opportunity to harvest a quota of six bulls for the season, with our ever conservative quota approach opting for no more than three bulls for the year.

Having looked at more than forty different bulls over the course of the hunt, with many world-class bulls being turned down, they finally settled on this monster. His dewlap hung at belly height, while his mop on the forehead gave away his age at over ten years. But what was the most amazing of all was his horns that boasted both length and shape. A rare combination for old Eland.

Joining Sam and Tracey were fellow Texans, the Smith’s, out on their first African safari.

Aubrey and Robin, together with their son, Tyler Smith.

For the Smith’s it would be a hunt of the ages. They joined professional Hunter, Carl van Zyl, tracker, Oluwhetu, and Jack Russel Terrier, Bongo. Pursuing a number of plains game species including; Wildebeest, Sable, Kudu, Zebra, Gemsbuck, Eland, Nyala, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Lechwe, and a host of others, making for an exhilarating first experience on the Dark Continent.

GTS Productions videographer, Ozzy, proved to be a great addition to the safari, not only capturing the entire hunt on film, but enhancing Aubrey’s experience through their common interest and passion in photography.

All in all we enjoyed a great week together, with the smiles and many trophy pictures, the result of hard yards under challenging wind conditions. The Gunwerks system once again came out on top, giving both the Cunningham’s and Smith’s, reason to smile not only about the quality of their game, but even more so the rewards of great shots.

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and visit our Website

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It’s the modern Big 5 of Plains Game. In a world where everything is changing and high standards become the norm, so does the urge of our hunters.

Hunters from around the world are looking for new opportunities to test their skill and wit against the often forgotten “small” species of Africa. The funny thing about these “small” species and hunting them – they may be small in size but not in CHALLENGE.

Which species belong to the Tiny 10 and where does John X Safaris hunt them?

The Eastern Cape on South Africa’s east coast boasts a wide variety of terrain, habitat and opportunities, giving the hunter the chance at hunting 7 of the Tiny 10.

Our Coastal Area consists of grassland savannah and deep valleys filled with coastal forests running down to the Indian Ocean.

Up on the savannah you will find Oribi, Common Duiker and Cape Grysbuck, while Blue Duiker can be hunted in our Coastal forests.

The Oribi is a magnificent trophy and a collector’s delight. Usually hunted along our coastal belt, but can also be hunted in Mozambique. Solids are recommended to minimize damage to these fragile trophies. The management of Oribi populations is of extreme importance if one were to maintain a sustainable population. Oribi succumb to predators very easily and areas with good Oribi populations are usually very well predator controlled. When hunting these shy animals always search for pairs or groups, as one is bound to find males not too far away from females. When judging the trophy quality always ensure the tip of the horns are in line with the top of the ears or greater. Any hunters wanting to hunt Oribi should indicate this when booking their safari, as Oribi quota is limited and permits have to be applied for well in advance.

The Common or Grey Duiker is seen by many hunters as an opportunistic species. Duikers are usually hunted during the early morning, late afternoon or at night.

The Cape Grysbuck is a magnificent trophy and a personal favourite. Hunting Grysbuck will require many nights of hard hunting. When hunting these shy animals always search for pairs, as one is bound to find males not too far away from females. When judging the trophy quality, take your time, as it will usually be at night in tall grass. Grysbuck do not tend to stand still for very long with the outsides of their ears being black often resembling the shape and color of the horns. Be certain that there is at least 2 ½’’ of horns sticking out before making the call.

Also known as “Puti” in the Xhosa language, the Blue Duiker acts as the main source of prey to Caracal and Eagles alike along our Coastal Forest belts. Both males and females make for a super trophy. This is a real specialized collector’s hunt. Hunts are conducted by finding a suitable path in the forest, while moving the animals around by Jack Russell Terriers. A 12 gauge shotgun is best suited for these fleet-footed masters of the forest.

From the beaches to the mountains, the quest for variety of the Tiny 10 continues.

An amazing world awaits you when you get up and into the clouds….

Klipspringer and Vaal Rhebuck can be hunted on the high ground from our Northern Areas, and the ever-present Steenbuck can be found racing across the plains of the Karoo.

For any hunter who enjoys the mountains and the challenges that come with mountain hunting, they will find this hunt a must. The art in hunting these fleet-footed masters of the rocks is to get into glassing positions without being detected. Once in position, take your time to glass all surrounding rocky ridges and outcrops in the area. Once a good male has been spotted be sure to approach with utmost caution, as any kind of alarm will set the Klipspringer, usually in pairs, off over the next horizon. Hunters can expect shots to be long with steep gradients at times. Klipspringer’s have sensitive skins and hair slip is always a factor. Hunters must ensure they have a good flat shooting caliber with a solid bullet as to damage skins as little as possible.

Vaal Rhebuck are considered by most as the most challenging South African antelope to hunt. This wonderful species occurs on the high ground. Hunters must be prepared to be patient, walk great distances, and at times make the above average long shot. Not all hunters have this species in their collection and many hunters have often expressed their disappointment of not having hunted this species in their younger years, when getting up and down mountains was much easier. The trophy quality of a Vaal Rhebuck is determined by the overall length of the horn. The best indicators are the ears which stand at a height of 6 inches when erected to attention, always look for something an inch or more above the ear. Hunting Vaal Rhebuck is a must to any hunter who wants to experience that much more, who relishes the hardship in the journey, and who enjoys the success of harvesting a good male, while sitting back and enjoying the view while you’re on top of the world.

The Steenbuck is one of the most beautiful of the ten. A hugely underrated trophy. This is mainly due to its size or the fact that so few people notice them. Few have the time to study them before they disappear over the horizon or into the dead of night. The Steenbuck gets its name from the very first Dutch settlers who traveled to Africa. The word “Steen” means brick, as you could well imagine the color of the Steenbuck resembled that of a red building brick, and thereby getting the name Steenbuck.

While the East Cape boasts with 7 of the Tiny 10, the journey must continue onto Namibia where we hunt the Damara Dik Dik, and finally onto Mozambique to complete the slam.

The magnificent Damara Dik Dik – The ballerina of the bush. Strangely the Damara Dik Dik is named after an area where it does not even occur, Damaraland, Namibia. Characterized by thin dainty legs and an elongated snout. A trophy one will be required to hunt hard for, but certainly one to savour.

Red Duiker can be found throughout the forests and savannah areas of Mozambique. Often spotted as a glowing ember in the forest, with its rich red colour moving swiftly over the shaded forest floor. The stockier of the 3 Duiker species in the Tiny 10, and surprisingly difficult to judge the difference in sex. Apart from heavier set horns and head, look for an oversized scrotum hanging between the back legs often stretching to below the knee line.

Last but certainly not least, the tiny Livingstone’s Suni. Considered by many the most difficult to hunt of the 10 and will often be the last remaining species outstanding in many Tiny 10 collections. This may have been the feeling in the past. Today we are privileged to hunt the finest Suni area in Africa. Mozambique’s Zambezi Delta with its scattered sand forest boasts unbelievable numbers of Suni. Many a hunter whom we’ve guided to this area has been as dumb founded as what we were the very first time. These tiny animals live in a special place and can be considered a highlight in any hunters hunting career.

The Tiny 10 – What’s the BIG fuss about?

It may be the fact that they’re not always noticed or known. They’re certainly not found everywhere and those who start pursuing them usually become addicted to hunting them. I’m not entirely sure what it is that has got me addicted?

Best you ask the rest of those Tiny 10 addicts out there and join us on the hunt for something different…..

For further details regards hunting the Tiny 10, visit our John X Safaris Website @ www.johnxsafaris.co.za or drop us a mail on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za . We’ll be glad to assist with your addiction.

OR

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our web site!

Read Full Post »

It’s the modern Big 5 of Plains Game. In a world where everything is changing and high standards become the norm, so does the urge of our hunters.

Hunters from around the world are looking for new opportunities to test their skill and wit against the often forgotten “small” species of Africa. The funny thing about these “small” species and hunting them – they may be small in size but not in CHALLENGE.

Which species belong to the Tiny 10 and where does John X Safaris hunt them?

The Eastern Cape on South Africa’s east coast boasts a wide variety of terrain, habitat and opportunities, giving the hunter the chance at hunting 7 of the Tiny 10. 

Our Coastal Area consists of grassland savannah and deep valleys filled with coastal forests running down to the Indian Ocean.

Up on the savannah you will find Oribi, Common Duiker and Cape Grysbuck, while Blue Duiker can be hunted in our Coastal forests.

The Oribi is a magnificent trophy and a collector’s delight. Usually hunted along our coastal belt, but can also be hunted in Mozambique. Solids are recommended to minimize damage to these fragile trophies. The management of Oribi populations is of extreme importance if one were to maintain a sustainable population. Oribi succumb to predators very easily and areas with good Oribi populations are usually very well predator controlled. When hunting these shy animals always search for pairs or groups, as one is bound to find males not too far away from females. When judging the trophy quality always ensure the tip of the horns are in line with the top of the ears or greater. Any hunters wanting to hunt Oribi should indicate this when booking their safari, as Oribi quota is limited and permits have to be applied for well in advance.

The Common or Grey Duiker is seen by many hunters as an opportunistic species. Duikers are usually hunted during the early morning, late afternoon or at night.

The Cape Grysbuck is a magnificent trophy and a personal favourite. Hunting Grysbuck will require many nights of hard hunting. When hunting these shy animals always search for pairs, as one is bound to find males not too far away from females. When judging the trophy quality, take your time, as it will usually be at night in tall grass. Grysbuck do not tend to stand still for very long with the outsides of their ears being black often resembling the shape and color of the horns. Be certain that there is at least 2 ½’’ of horns sticking out before making the call.

Also known as "Puti" in the Xhosa language, the Blue Duiker acts as the main source of prey to Caracal and Eagles alike along our Coastal Forest belts. Both males and females make for a super trophy. This is a real specialized collector’s hunt. Hunts are conducted by finding a suitable path in the forest, while moving the animals around by Jack Russell Terriers. A 12 gauge shotgun is best suited for these fleet-footed masters of the forest.

From the beaches to the mountains, the quest for variety of the Tiny 10 continues.

An amazing world awaits you when you get up and into the clouds....

Klipspringer and Vaal Rhebuck can be hunted on the high ground from our Northern Areas, and the ever-present Steenbuck can be found racing across the plains of the Karoo.

For any hunter who enjoys the mountains and the challenges that come with mountain hunting, they will find this hunt a must. The art in hunting these fleet-footed masters of the rocks is to get into glassing positions without being detected. Once in position, take your time to glass all surrounding rocky ridges and outcrops in the area. Once a good male has been spotted be sure to approach with utmost caution, as any kind of alarm will set the Klipspringer, usually in pairs, off over the next horizon. Hunters can expect shots to be long with steep gradients at times. Klipspringer's have sensitive skins and hair slip is always a factor. Hunters must ensure they have a good flat shooting caliber with a solid bullet as to damage skins as little as possible.

Vaal Rhebuck are considered by most as the most challenging South African antelope to hunt. This wonderful species occurs on the high ground. Hunters must be prepared to be patient, walk great distances, and at times make the above average long shot. Not all hunters have this species in their collection and many hunters have often expressed their disappointment of not having hunted this species in their younger years, when getting up and down mountains was much easier. The trophy quality of a Vaal Rhebuck is determined by the overall length of the horn. The best indicators are the ears which stand at a height of 6 inches when erected to attention, always look for something an inch or more above the ear. Hunting Vaal Rhebuck is a must to any hunter who wants to experience that much more, who relishes the hardship in the journey, and who enjoys the success of harvesting a good male, while sitting back and enjoying the view while you’re on top of the world.

The Steenbuck is one of the most beautiful of the ten. A hugely underrated trophy. This is mainly due to its size or the fact that so few people notice them. Few have the time to study them before they disappear over the horizon or into the dead of night. The Steenbuck gets its name from the very first Dutch settlers who traveled to Africa. The word “Steen” means brick, as you could well imagine the color of the Steenbuck resembled that of a red building brick, and thereby getting the name Steenbuck.

While the East Cape boasts with 7 of the Tiny 10, the journey must continue onto Namibia where we hunt the Damara Dik Dik, and finally onto Mozambique to complete the slam.

The magnificent Damara Dik Dik - The ballerina of the bush. Strangely the Damara Dik Dik is named after an area where it does not even occur, Damaraland, Namibia. Characterized by thin dainty legs and an elongated snout. A trophy one will be required to hunt hard for, but certainly one to savour.

Red Duiker can be found throughout the forests and savannah areas of Mozambique. Often spotted as a glowing ember in the forest, with its rich red colour moving swiftly over the shaded forest floor. The stockier of the 3 Duiker species in the Tiny 10, and surprisingly difficult to judge the difference in sex. Apart from heavier set horns and head, look for an oversized scrotum hanging between the back legs often stretching to below the knee line.

Last but certainly not least, the tiny Livingstone's Suni. Considered by many the most difficult to hunt of the 10 and will often be the last remaining species outstanding in many Tiny 10 collections. This may have been the feeling in the past. Today we are privileged to hunt the finest Suni area in Africa. Mozambique's Zambezi Delta with its scattered sand forest boasts unbelievable numbers of Suni. Many a hunter whom we've guided to this area has been as dumb founded as what we were the very first time. These tiny animals live in a special place and can be considered a highlight in any hunters hunting career.

The Tiny 10 – What’s the BIG fuss about?

It may be the fact that they’re not always noticed or known. They’re certainly not found everywhere and those who start pursuing them usually become addicted to hunting them. I’m not entirely sure what it is that has got me addicted?

Best you ask the rest of those Tiny 10 addicts out there and join us on the hunt for something different…..

For further details regards hunting the Tiny 10, visit our John X Safaris Website @ www.johnxsafaris.co.za or drop us a mail on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za . We’ll be glad to assist with your addiction.

OR

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our web site!

Read Full Post »

Earlier this year we had an interesting request from our Spanish partners Camino Real Hunting Consultants. They had a client who was interested in a highly specialized safari. The client’s time was limited and he needed some of the rare and more difficult species only available in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. What we failed to realise, he wanted 2 of each specie. One for full mounting and one to shoulder mount.
Jose Recio is no ordinary man. Neither is his wife Filo. At times it was hard to determine who was fitter when walking the mountains or who was taking the lead on some of the finest shooting we’ve ever come to see. The Recio’s were accompanied by one of our partners from Camino Real, Alvaro Mazon. Alvaro proved to be a great help and certainly a member of the team that we will not be leaving behind if a hunt similar to this ever came up again.
We started our Safari in the south from our Coastal Base Camp. Professional Hunters, Carl van Zijl and Jean MacDonald, were to manage the hunt and achieve the near impossible. The message was quite simple, +- 15 Species and 2 of each specie.
 

While Jose was out hunting Blue Duiker with Carl and Alvaro, Filo and Jean were the first to draw blood with this super Common Lechwe.

The Blue Duiker hunt was proving harder than what the hunters had anticipated. We only really got one chance very late that afternoon, but by that stage the 30 degree heat had taken its toll. At the end of day 1, Blue Duikers 1 – Hunters 0.

During the course of that first day I had the opportunity of being part of one mans vision. Jose explained to us that he had a dream of building his very own Wildlife Museum. He was personally building and stocking the museum on his farm El Pimpollar, situated in Sierra Norte, only a few kilometers from Seville, Spain.

While he and Filo may have the idea of stocking it personally, that’s where it ends. From there he wants the public and especially kids to come and visit the museum, he wants a legacy to be left behind for all to enjoy after he is gone.

John X Safaris and Camino Real Hunting Consultants were proud to be a part of Jose’s dream. It took many hard yards and even harder work to achieve the quality, variety and experience that made this safari one for the ages.

Sit back, relax and view their experience with a selection of pictures from their Safari. Keep in mind, this was not their first Safari to Africa, all the regular species had been hunted on previous trips.

Both Jose and Filo had hunted right around the world, but neither had ever hunted Scimitar Horned Oryx. Jose and Filo each harvested great bulls.

No trip to the East Cape would be complete without a selection of all the Springbuck color variations from the Karoo. Filo with a massive White Springbuck. Not often that one sees the tips of the horns on a White Springbuck hooking back like this ram, or her second she hunted.

The rare Copper Springbuck. Not many a hunter could boast with two in his collection, Jose wasn't going to let the chance pass him by.

On a safari like this one, we were always going to need a fair amount of luck and above average shooting.Filo dropped her monster Black Springbuck ram at 397 yards in gusting 35 mile an hour cross winds. Some may call it luck? She did it more than once!

Those hunters who've hunted Vaal Rhebuck before will know that being successful on one good ram is hard enough. Try Jose's luck. 2 great Vaalies in a morning. Jose was extremely fit and a master shot at long distances.

When we first received Jose's request, we knew without even checking, he needed the rare Cape Grysbuck. This specie is extremely shy and mostly nocturnal. We hunted hard and endured many cold hours at night in search of Grysbuck before harvesting this beauty.

We finally did get lucky with a Blue Duiker. Last morning, first beat with the Jack Russel's, we were cutting it fine, but this was one of Jose's biggest priority trophies.

We only have 2 Oribi on quota annually, man was it difficult keeping Jose away from hunting a second. Hunting Oribi along the coastal dunes is what Jose considered "different". We'd tend to agree, it's not everyday that one gets to hunt with the waves crashing in the background!

Every serious collector needs a Bontebuck in his trophy room, Jose and Filo both hunted one.

After Filo's Common Lechwe it didn't take much to convince Jose to hunt Lechwe. This bull was finally put down after a great stalk that took over 2 hours to just get into position, then the waiting game started. The bull finally stepped into a clearing and Jose made sure of his shot. A great reward, super Lechwe bull.

The smile says it all! A late afternoon Cape Bushbuck.

We all agreed that no Wildlife Museum would be complete without a "Dassie"(Rock Rabbit / Hyrax) scene.

We travelled North, East, South and West. We hunted the majestic plains of the Karoo, the breath-taking mountains of the high ground, the savannah, and the coastal forests. In all we hunted 28 animals.

For the numbers guys. 28 Animals – 16 Different Species – Not all doubles. Our trackers skinned, processed and salted 20 full mounts and 8 shoulder mounts. 23 Bags of salt, that’s 2300 pounds of salt – 4 knives worn out. 5000 Kilometers between Jean and Carl without the slightest hitch from their Toyota’s. Best of all, every single measurable specie made it well into the SCI Record Book.

Will we take it on again? In a heartbeat! What a safari! What an adventure! What a trip it was!

Ps. Jose & Filo, next time let’s do it in 20 days and not 8.

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our web site!

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